Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Green with anger

There's been a lot of debate in Singapore in the last few weeks about how Singaporeans do not speak English properly. We speak a brand of Chinese-tinged English called 'Singlish' which is basically English spoken with a Chinese dialect (Hokkien) grammar.

I don't speak Singlish very well as I cannot speak Hokkien and so do not have Hokkien grammar to begin with (it's slightly different from Mandarin grammar, I believe). While I speak English quite well (I write it even better), what stumps me are the idiomatic phrases which I tend to confuse with Chinese idioms.

'Green with anger'. That's a new one. It's me being green and being diligent in the 3Rs -- reduce, reuse, recycle. It's me being angry that someone saw fit to walk onto my drive, removed the cardboard boxes in my green recycling box, dumped the cardboard boxes on my drive and walked off with my green box.

Yes, the audacity of it! This is the SECOND time in less than three months that our green recycling box has gone walkabout.

The borough has suddenly -- with little communication to the unconverted -- decided to institute fines on those who do not recycle, or put the 'wrong' rubbish into the main wheelie bin.

We've been separating our rubbish for years and so it does not really affect us. Suddenly my neighbours (obviously not immediate) realized that they need a green box to put their plastic bottles, jam jars, beer cans, newspapers, etc. As most of these have probably been used in the shed or house for other storage purposes, these people are now stuck.

The Council could not supply green boxes quickly enough and so some people STEAL other people's green boxes.

So now I am the one being stuck with a whole load of recyclable rubbish and nothing to store it in.


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